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Archive for March 31st, 2017

NASCAR Monster Energy & Camping World Series at Martinsville this weekend; XFINITY off until April 8

Martinsville Speedway 2011 photo By GalaxyTrooper, Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: STP 500

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Sunday, April 2

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 263 miles (500 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 130),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 260), Final Stage (Ends on lap 500)

NASCAR XFINITY Series

Next Race: My Bariatric Solutions 300

The Place: Texas Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, April 8

The Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 1 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 300 miles (150 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 45),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 200)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Alpha Energy Solutions 250

The Place: Martinsville Speedway

The Date: Saturday, April 1

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: FOX, 2:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 131.5 miles (250 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 70),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on lap 250)

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

California Winning: Larson Notches First Win Of Season At Auto Club

Kyle Larson snapped a streak of three consecutive runner-ups, leading 110 laps and winning Stage 1 on his way to Victory Lane in last Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

 

The No. 42 Chevrolet driver extended his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points lead to 29 points over Chase Elliott. Because of his victory and stage win, Larson now has six playoff points.

 

Larson, who also won Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race, became the 17th driver to sweep a national series weekend.

 

The 24-year-old Californian hopes to start a winning streak at Martinsville Speedway in Sunday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). He owns a high finish of third there.

 

Bowyer Captures First Top-5 Finish Since 2015

Clint Bowyer’s third-place showing marked his first top-five result since he finished fifth at Bristol on Aug. 22, 2015. It was also Bowyer’s best finish since his third-place showing at Sonoma on June 28, 2015.

 

Bowyer has two top 10s so far this season, only one less than his mark from last year when he finished a career-low 27th in the final standings.

 

Right now, the Kansas native sits eighth in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings, 100 markers below leader Kyle Larson.

 

This is Bowyer’s first season with Stewart-Haas Racing, replacing three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Ford.

 

“It means a lot to me to be in this 14,” Bowyer said. “I have a lot of fun with these guys. Buga (crew chief Mike Bugarewicz) and all these guys mean business. It’s a confidence thing right now, a momentum-builder, and we’re getting closer. Obviously, this is a good track for me. I wanted to win that damn thing, but to come home with the wild finish and everything that it was, we’ll take it.”

 

Truex Back Up Top

Martin Truex Jr. is showing his breakout in the last two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series seasons was no aberration. The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing driver, who won a career-high four races last season, has powered to a strong 2017 start with one win, two top fives and three top 10s in the first five races.

Truex leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with eight playoff points and is tied with Kevin Harvick for first in stage wins with three. His 7.4 average finish ranks second-best to Kyle Larson (3.8). Truex sits third in the points standings, 38 points behind Larson.

 

Plethora Of Young Drivers In Playoff Picture

We’re only five races into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, but if it ended today, six drivers under the age of 27 would make the playoffs: Kyle Larson (24 years old), Chase Elliott (21), Joey Logano (26), Ryan Blaney (23), Erik Jones (20) and Trevor Bayne (26).

 

Blaney, Jones and Bayne would all be first-time playoff participants. Jones would join Elliott (2016), Chris Buescher (2016) and Denny Hamlin (2006) as the fourth Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender to ever make the playoffs.

 

Martinsville’s Finest: Jimmie Johnson Leads Active Drivers With 9 Wins At The Paperclip

Seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has struggled in the first five races with only one top-10 finish – a ninth-place showing at Phoenix.

Luckily for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports driver, he’ll get the chance to turn his season around at arguably his top track – Martinsville Speedway.

Johnson leads active drivers with nine wins, 19 top fives, 24 top 10s, a 7.8 average finish and a 117.7 driver rating at “The Paperclip.”

He won the fall Martinsville race last year to clinch his spot in the Championship 4.

Hendrick Motorsports boasts a Martinsville track-record 24 wins.

Kyle Busch Attempts To Defend Spring Martinsville Victory

Kyle Busch will attempt to visit Victory Lane for the second consecutive spring at Martinsville in Sunday’s STP 500 at the Southern Virginia short track. Busch led 352 of 500 laps on his way to his first win of 2016. Overall, he claims one win, 11 top fives and 12 top 10s at Martinsville.

 

On the season, Busch has finishes of 38th (Daytona), 16th (Atlanta), 22nd (Las Vegas), third (Phoenix) and eighth (Auto Club). He won Stage 1 at Daytona.

 

Busch sits 10th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings, 107 markers below Kyle Larson.

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Parity Party: 5 Different Winners Through First 5 Races: Five different drivers have won the first five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races: Kurt Busch (Daytona), Brad Keselowski (Atlanta), Martin Truex Jr. (Las Vegas), Ryan Newman (Phoenix), Kyle Larson (Auto Club).

Keselowski Records Fourth Straight Top-Five Finish: Lost in Kyle Larson’s blazing hot start to the season has been the consistency of 2012 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski. The No. 2 Ford driver has strung together four straight top-five finishes, including a win (Atlanta) and runner-up (Auto Club).

 

NASCAR XFINITY Series

 

Five Different Winners Through First Five NASCAR XFINITY Series Races

This season marks the 14th time in NASCAR XFINITY Series history the first five races of the season have been won by five different drivers. It’s been 11 years (2006) since the last time the series has seen the feat accomplished. Ryan Reed (Daytona), Kyle Busch (Atlanta), Joey Logano (Las Vegas), Justin Allgaier (Phoenix) and Kyle Larson (Auto Club) are this season’s five different winners. Also of note, five different organizations have also visited Victory Lane – Roush Fenway Racing (Daytona), Joe Gibbs Racing (Atlanta), Team Penske (Las Vegas), JR Motorsports (Phoenix) and Chip Ganassi Racing (Auto Club).  The NASCAR XFINITY Series record for largest number of different winners in a single season is 18 – set back in 1988. Last season had 14 different winners. The series resumes in all its grandeur at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 8 on FOX (at 1:30 p.m. ET).

Sadler Opens Up Points Lead Going Into First Off Weekend Of Season

Over the past three weeks, JR Motorsports veteran and NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings leader Elliott Sadler has been accumulating points and distancing himself from the rest of the pack in the 2017 standings. Following Las Vegas, Sadler had a four-point lead over second-place in the series driver standings, then two weeks ago following Phoenix he opened the lead up to 11 points. Now following a seventh-place finish at Auto Club, he is 17 points ahead of his JRM teammate William Byron in second. In five starts this season, Sadler has posted two top fives, four top 10s and an average finish of 9.8. He also has two Stage wins that have produced two playoff points. Sadler’s season-to-date loop data stats also point to why he has been so successful early this season. Among drivers that have made all five starts in 2017, Sadler leads the NASCAR XFINITY Series in the following categories: driver rating (101.3), average running position (7.870) and laps in the top 15 (768 laps, 91.8%).

 

NASCAR XFINITY Series Points Earned In Stages 1 & 2
Rank Driver Stage 1 Pts Stage 2 Pts Combined
1 Elliott Sadler 26 27 53
2 Justin Allgaier 11 17 28
3 William Byron 18 8 26
4 Brennan Poole 12 5 17
5 Daniel Hemric 9 8 17
6 Cole Custer 8 6 14
7 Darrell Wallace Jr. 7 5 12
8 Matt Tifft 9 3 12
9 Tyler Reddick 3 7 10
10 Blake Koch 7 2 9
11 Ryan Reed 1 7 8
12 Dakoda Armstrong 3 3 6
13 Brendan Gaughan 2 4 6

 

Stage Racing Can Pay Big Points In New Enhanced Format

The new enhanced formats this season have brought a lot to the table as far as accumulating points is concerned throughout a NASCAR XFINITY Series race. Thirteen different NXS drivers have taken advantage of the new system to earn points by finishing inside the top 10 in the first two stages of a race. Week-in and week-out, the Stage points can add up to be quite the advantage. Here is a look at the Stage point accumulators through the first five races of 2017.

Of the thirteen NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers that have earned points from the first two stages of the first five races, Elliott Sadler has earned the most. He has nearly double the amount (53 points) of his nearest competitor, Justin Allgaier with 28. Sadler’s stage points are a big contributor as to why he has such a large lead in the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver standings. Sadler has finished inside the top 10 of every Stage except the two at Las Vegas this season.

NASCAR XFINITY Series Stats Through Five Races

With the NASCAR XFINITY Series taking a break this weekend, let’s look at how this season’s competitors have performed statistically through the first five races:

~        Number of Races This Season: 5

~        Number of Winners: 5 the most since 2006 (5)

~        Number of Coors Light Poles winners: 4 – the same number as last season through five races

~        Average Number of Leaders: 5.40the most since 2015 (6.20)

~        Average Number of Lead Changes: 13.60 – the most since 2013 (16.20)

~        Average Margin of Victory: 0.459 second – the closest MOV since 2010 (0.420 second)

~        All five races this season have had a margin of victory less than a second – the most since the inception of electronic scoring in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 1996.

~        Percentage of Lead Lap Finishes: 59%the highest since 2005 (62.3%)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Ringing The Bell Into Martinsville

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series picks back up this weekend at Martinsville Speedway for the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 on Saturday, April 1 (3 p.m. ET on FOX). NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader Christopher Bell will look to capture back-to-back wins for the first time in his young career.

 

Bell captured his first win of the 2017 season in the Active Pest Control 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The win jolted him into the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs and atop of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings.

The No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports driver has raced in two career races at Martinsville Speedway– both in 2016. He finished 19th in April and fourth in October.

Bell leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings by seven points over reigning series champion Johnny Sauter and Ben Rhodes. Sunoco Rookie contender Kaz Grala (-15) and Matt Crafton (-21) round out the top five.

 

Sauter Looking To Skip Into Martinsville Speedway History

Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion Johnny Sauter has a chance to make history at Martinsville Speedway this weekend with a win in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250.

 

If Sauter captures at win at Martinsville on Saturday, he would become the all-time leader in wins in track history with four. Sauter captured his third win at Martinsville last season when he took the checkered in the fall and punched his ticket into the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs.

 

In seven of his last eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Martinsville, Sauter has posted top-10 finishes, including two wins (2016 – fall and 2013 – spring).

 

In 18 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career starts at Martinsville Speedway, Sauter has three wins, six top fives, nine top 10s and 386 laps led.

 

Mixing It Up At Martinsville

The last five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Martinsville Speedway have all been won by different race winners.

 

Johnny Sauter (2016 – fall)

Kyle Busch (2016 – spring)

Matt Crafton (2015 – fall)

Joey Logano (2015 – spring)

Darrell Wallace Jr. (2014 – fall)

 

Will Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 produce its sixth-consecutive different NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner at Martinsville Speedway?

 

There have been seven drivers who have won multiple NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Martinsville Speedway since 1995:

 

Kevin Harvick (3)

Johnny Saunter (3)

Dennis Setzer (3)

Mike Skinner (3)

Matt Crafton (2)

Denny Hamlin (2)

Darrell Wallace Jr. (2)

 

Getting Off To A Fast Start

Since 2010, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver who has started on the pole for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway, has gone on to win the race five times. Those winners account for 36 percent of all 14 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins at Martinsville from 2010-16.

Starting with the most recent, below are the drivers to win the pole and the race at Martinsville Speedway between 2010-16:

Joey Logano (2015 – spring)

Darrell Wallace Jr. (2014 – fall)

Kevin Harvick (2012 – spring)

Johnny Sauter (2011 – spring)

Kevin Harvick (2010 – spring)

 

Based on recent NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history (2010-2016), if you win the pole at Martinsville, you have a 36 percent chance at winning the race.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.

Crafton Counting Up Martinsville Speedway Records: Matt Crafton has accumulated multiple Martinsville Speedway track records over his 17-year NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career. He currently leads the following series categories at Martinsville Speedway:

  • Races Run (30)
  • Top 10s (17)
  • Lead Lap Finishes (26)
  • Laps Completed (6,665)

Chase Elliott Trucking At Martinsville: Chase Elliott will run this Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 for GMS Racing. This will be Elliott’s second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start of 2017. He started ninth at Atlanta in the Active Pest Control 200 and finished fifth. Elliott’s last win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series came in 2013 at Bowmanville.

Ty Dillon Returns To NASCAR Camping World Truck Series For First Time Since 2015:

Ty Dillon was a late addition to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series lineup at Martinsville and will run the No. 99 Chevrolet for Ranier Racing with Mathew Miller in this Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250. Ty’s brother Austin ran in the No. 99 Chevrolet at Atlanta and finished seventh.

 

Ty last appeared in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2015 and finished 23rd. He has 53 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career starts with three wins, 19 top fives and 35 top 10s.

 

Harrison Burton Readies to Make 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Debut at Martinsville: NASCAR Next alumni (Class of 2016) and K&N Pro Series East driver Harrison Burton will make his 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway this weekend in the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra. Burton appeared in one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race last season – the fall race at Martinsville Speedway. He finished with a top-25 in the No. 18 KBM Toyota after starting 16th.

 

RACE PREVIEWS WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

2017 Hobey Baker Finalists announced

Hobey Baker Logo
March 30, 2017
Saint Paul, Minn.

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Hobey Hat Trick Announced
The Hobey Baker Memorial Award is pleased to announce the three Hobey Hat Trick finalists for the 2017 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, honoring college hockey’s top player. Alphabetically, they are: Zach Aston-Reese, senior forward from Northeastern University, Will Butcher, senior defenseman from the University of Denver, and Mike Vecchione, senior forward from Union College.

The three finalists were selected from the initial list of Top Ten candidates by the 27-member Selection Committee and an additional round of online fan balloting to determine this year’s Hobey Baker winner. Criteria for the award includes: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.

This year’s Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced Friday, April 7, 2017 from the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago, Ill. during the NCAA Frozen Four. The 37th annual announcement will be televised live on the NHL Network at 6 p.m. ET, and at the Hobey website, www.hobeybaker.com. Here is more on this year’s three finalists:

Zach Aston-Reese – Northeastern University – Senior, Forward, Staten Island, New York
Whether its special teams play or five-on-five, Aston-Reese has been a consistent and dominant performer this season. The Hockey East Player of the Year and First Team all-conference sniper is part of a three-way tie for most points in the nation while topping all skaters in the country with 31 goals. The assistant captain for the Huskies recently signed a pro contract and is skating with Wilkes-Barre in the AHL.

  • Finished with 31 goals, 32 assists for 63 points in 38 games – had 19 multiple point games – tied for first in nation averaging 1.66 points per game – Graphic Design major
  • His 13 power play goals are tied third in nation and 4 short-handed goals are tied second
  • Works with elementary schools in Boston area by reading to classes

Will Butcher – University of Denver – Senior, Defense, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
The NCHC Player of the Year becomes the first defenseman since Hobey winner Matt Gilroy (2009) to become a hat trick finalist. Butcher is a complete player, equally efficient at both ends of the ice. His 36 points places him second in the nation in points by a defenseman, while his plus/minus of +25 is ninth overall in the nation. His outstanding season garnered honors as Offensive Defenseman of the Year in the NCHC and First Team all-conference for the second straight year.

  • Has 7 goals, 29 assists for 36 points in 41 games – Colorado draft (5th round)
  • As captain of the Pioneers, Denver were regular season champs; are ranked #1 nationally
  • Business major – Hockey Saves volunteer assisting military personal playing hockey

Mike Vecchione – Union College – Senior, Forward, Saugus, Massachusetts
Sitting tied at the top of the nation in scoring with his fellow hat trick finalist, Vecchione (VECK-ee-oh-nee) is the ECAC Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Best Defensive Forward, proving his value as a 200 foot player. Also named First Team all-conference, he was second in the nation in goal scoring and tied for second with four short-handed goals. He culminated his Dutchmen career as the program’s all time points and assist leader.

  • Finished with 29 goals, 34 assists for 63 points in 38 games – won 61.8% of faceoffs, 4th in nation – led nation with 21 multiple point games and 7 game-winning goals
  • Points per game average of 1.66 is tied for first in the nation – History major
  • Active in many events; spearheaded effort to serve Thanksgiving meals at local YMCA

For more information on the Hobey Baker Memorial Award or to access the Hobey logo, visit http://www.hobeybaker.com/media. The website has additional bio info, statistics and video of all top ten finalists. Check us out on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/TheHobey

The Hobey Baker Award announcement, at the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier is a free event and open to the public. Festivities will begin at 3:30 p.m. CT with an autograph signing featuring the two teams in the national championship game. At 4:10 p.m., the Hockey Humanitarian Award presentation will take place followed by the Hockey Coaches Association announcement of their All American teams and other national awards. The Hobey Baker Award announcement will begin at 5 p.m. CT. Credentialed media by the NCAA may use their NCAA pass for access to the media area – other media covering the Hobey Baker Award event only, will be seated in the media section.Get readers excited about your newsletter with a quick introduction that highlights your main topic, and let the rest of the email cover the details.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Wally Shaver; COURTESY HOBEY BAKER MEMORIAL AWARD FOUNDATION

Big Ten 2017 Preseason Football Notes

PRESEASON NOTES:

• Penn State was crowned Big Ten Champion after its 38-31 victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game. It was the Nittany Lions’ fourth Big Ten title and first since 2008. Penn State will look to repeat as conference champions for the first time in program history …

• Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin will all look to repeat as division champions this season, as the Badgers finished 7-2 to win the West Division and the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions both completed the season with 8-1 marks to finish tied atop the East Division. Last season’s divisional crowns marked the second for Penn State, third for the Badgers and fifth for the Buckeyes …

• The 2017 campaign will feature 33 All-Big Ten players (seven first-team, 12 second-team, 14 third-team) and 46 honorable mention selections from last season …

• The winners of five of the 14 regular-season individual awards from last season will also hit the field again this fall. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year and the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year, while Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett was tabbed the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year and Mike Weber was chosen as the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year. Minnesota’s Emmit Carpenter was named the Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year …

• The Big Ten will welcome three new head coaches to the sidelines for the 2017 campaign in Indiana’s Tom Allen, Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm …

• Allen first joined the Indiana football staff as associate head coach in 2016. A 25-year coaching veteran, Allen helped lead a dramatic turnaround of Indiana’s defense in 2016, just as he had done before at Ole Miss and South Florida …

• Fleck heads to Minnesota after spending four years as the head coach at Western Michigan, where he was 30-22 overall and 21-11 in the Mid-American Conference. While leading the Broncos, Fleck authored one of the most memorable turnarounds in college football history. The Broncos were 1-11 in his first year in 2013, but ended last season with a 13-1 record, a conference championship and a berth in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic …

• Brohm comes to Purdue from Western Kentucky, where he compiled a 30-10 overall record, including a 19-5 Conference USA mark, from 2014 to 2016. The Hilltoppers were league champions in 2015 and 2016, the first back-to-back titles as an FBS member in school history …

• The seventh annual Big Ten Football Championship Game will once again determine the Big Ten Champion. The 2017 Big Ten Football Championship Game will be broadcast in prime time by FOX on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis …

• Beginning in 2016, each school played three teams from the other division as part of its nine-game schedule. The cross-division games include one protected matchup on an annual basis between Indiana and Purdue. As a result of the nine-game conference schedule and the Big Ten’s schedule rotation, every player will have the opportunity to play against every other team in the conference at least once during a four-year period …

• The Big Ten continues to feature the largest and most diverse postseason lineup in conference history this season, with 16 potential bowl destinations spread across the country. The Big Ten’s bowl lineup is highlighted by games against quality opponents from the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, Conference USA and Mountain West in California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Tennessee and Texas, along with the opportunity to visit four other outstanding postseason venues as part of the College Football Playoff …

• Eleven Big Ten teams will square off against at least one non-conference team that participated in a bowl game last season, with 17 total games against squads coming off bowl trips. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue and Rutgers will each face two non-conference bowl teams in 2017, while Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin will each play one bowl opponent outside the conference schedule …

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Adam Augustine; COURTESY BIG TEN COMMUNICATIONS

 

Crew SC hosts unbeaten Orlando City SC in 4:00 pm Saturday afternoon matinee

 

Black & Gold face Orlando City SC tomorrow in the first of three regular-season meetings between the clubs this season

For Immediate Release: March 31, 2017

 

 

COLUMBUS — Columbus Crew SC (2-1-1, 7 points) hosts Orlando City SC (2-0-0, 6 points) in a home match at MAPFRE Stadium tomorrow, Saturday, April 1. The match kicks-off at 4:00 p.m. ET and is set to be televised nationally on Unimas and Univision Deportes Facebook Page with Jose Luis Lopez Salido, Raul Guzman, Diego Balado and Ramses Sandoval providing Spanish commentary and Ivan Kasanzew reporting. Nicolas Cantor and Guad Venegas are set to be on the English call for the match. Coverage on Unimas and Univision Deportes Facebook Page begins at 4:00 p.m. ET. Saturday’s match also airs locally on the radio on CD102.5 FM in English, with Neil Sika and Dwight Burgess on the call. La Mega 103.1 FM has the match airing in Spanish, with Juan Valladares behind the microphone. The Spanish radio calls are also set to be streamed in Spanish on the LaMega1 App and via Tunein Radio as WVKO-FM. The club’s official website, ColumbusCrewSC.com, is set to stream the English-language radio broadcast online.

 

Crew SC and Orlando met twice last season, with the two sides drawing 2-2 at MAPFRE Stadium on July 23, 2016 and the Black & Gold winning 4-1 at Camping World Stadium on September 17, 2016. Saturday’s match marks the sixth all-time regular-season meeting between the two clubs. The Black & Gold currently hold an all-time record of 2-1-2 against Orlando City. Crew SC has scored in each of its last three matches against Orlando.

 

Last Saturday, Crew SC defeated the Portland Timbers 3-2 at MAPFRE Stadium. Portland opened the score in the fourth minute, with midfielder Dairon Asprilla scoring on an assist from Sebastian Blanco. Midfielder Justin Meram would level for the Black & Gold in the 11th minute, scoring his first goal of the season. Six minutes later, forward Ola Kamara would put the Black & Gold in the lead by volleying a through ball from midfielder Federico Higuain in the 19th minute. Timbers forward Fanendo Adi, assisted by defender Alvas Powell, would level the score just before halftime, scoring Portland’s second goal of the contest in stoppage time (45+3’). Crew SC rookie Niko Hansen would make his MLS debut in the second half and score the game-winning goal in the 84th minute, giving the Black & Gold the lead and the three points.

 

Hansen’s goal was the first of his competitive career and the game-winner, making him the first rookie in club history to score a game-winning goal in his MLS debut. Kamara’s goal was his third match this season, as well as his third consecutive goal. Meram’s goal was his first of the season and 25th regular-season career-goal for Crew SC, allowing him to join the 25/25 club. The midfielder is one of only seven players in club history to tally at least 25 goals and 25 assists or more for the Black & Gold in regular-season action.

 

On Thursday, Crew SC acquired forward Kekuta Manneh (pronounced: keh-KOO-tuh MAH-NAY) from Vancouver Whitecaps FC in exchange for midfielder Tony Tchani, $225,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $75,000 in General Allocation Money. Additionally, in the event Crew SC signs Manneh, who is in the last year of his contract, to a new contract, then Vancouver will also receive Columbus’ natural first round MLS SuperDraft selection in the immediately following draft. Furthermore, Whitecaps FC will receive additional General Allocation Money if Manneh is traded by Columbus prior to December 31, 2018 and Vancouver will retain a percentage of any future transfer fee if the player is transferred outside of MLS. Manneh, 22, is in his fifth Major League Soccer season and has made 101 regular-season appearances (62 starts) while scoring 22 goals and providing 12 assists.

 

Crew SC is set to introduce Manneh in a special prematch photo and media opportunity prior to the start of tomorrow’s match against Orlando City SC. At 2:10 p.m. ET, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter will present Manneh with his new Crew SC kit in a media photo opportunity, followed by interview availability with the player.

 

Columbus Crew SC vs. Orlando City SC

Saturday, April 1 – 4:00 p.m. ET – MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, OH)

 

Regional Television: Unimas and Univision Deportes Facebook Page (coverage begins at 4:00 p.m. ET)

Regional Television Channel Guide: http://bit.ly/2017CrewSCBroadcast

Crew SC Radio: CD102.5 FM (English); La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish), Spanish radio broadcast also simulcast on LaMega1 App and via Tunein Radio as WVKO-FM, English radio broadcast also simulcast on ColumbusCrewSC.com

International Television: Globosat (Brazil), Abu Dhabi Sports (Middle East, North Africa), DSports/ ATR (India), StarHub (Singapore), BeIN (Aus, Asia), Sportscast (Taiwan), Eurosport (Europe), and Sky Sports (United Kingdom)

 

GAME PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW SC COMMUNICATIONS

 

Blue Jays re-sign long-time slugging outfielder Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista watches ball go skyward in 2015 By Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

The TORONTO BLUE JAYS have signed OF JOSE BAUTISTA to a one-year contract worth a guaranteed base salary of US $18 million, a US $17 million mutual option for 2018 and a US $20 million vesting option for 2019. Should either party decline the option for 2018 a US $500,000 buyout will be issued.

Bautista, 36, posted a .817 OPS, including a .366 OBP in 116 games last season, his 9th in a Blue Jays uniform. The Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic native is a six-time All-Star and two-time Hank Aaron Award winner who has posted 249 home runs since 2010, the most in the Majors. His 265 home runs as a Blue Jay are 2nd to only Carlos Delgado (336) on the all-time club list.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY BLUE JAYS MEDIA RELATIONS; COURTESY MLBpressbox.com

 

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